1. Description of Our Community
In ancient times, Luzhou was an alluvial sandbank. Owing to its low-lying position, it used to suffer from floods and the residents were forced to fight against river. Because the residents in Luzhou lived along the river, Luzhou was called “River Island.” Moreover, due to the frequent floods, most of the residents willing to live in Luzhou were the poor from central or southern Taiwan making a livelihood in northern Taiwan. After Luzhou became highly populated, its own unique culture, which was different from that in northern Taiwan, was developed. Various temples have been built here and various temple ceremonies have been constantly held, which unites the residents in Luzhou and promotes the development of various industries, such as the paper money and incense, paper models, and cakes for ceremonies, as well as the chefs responsible for holding banquets and preparing ornamental sacrifices. The annual worshipping ceremony and Dajiao ritual always attract many believers to gather in Luzhou. The residents in Luzhou are proud of the magnificent temple ceremonies. With the change in time, the annual worshipping ceremony in Luzhou has gradually declined in the modern and indifferent society. It is hoped that this research project of “Ornamental Sacrifices” can make local residents in Luzhou recall the memory buried in their mind and better understand the culture of Luzhou.
2. Summary of Our Project
In early days, most of the residents in Luzhou were the people from central and southern Taiwan who came to make a livelihood in Northern Taiwan. Most of these immigrants preserved the customs and beliefs of their homeland; therefore, the density of temples in Luzhou is the highest in Taiwan. Worshipping ceremonies are always held on the birthdays of the Gods or Dajiao ritual, and the residents in Luzhou will all join these ceremonies. The temple personnel and local residents sponsor the construction of canopies where long altar tables were set up and various sacrifices were placed on them. The most noticeable thing is neither the incense burner table nor sacrifices, but the story characters made of ingredients, chicken, duck, and flour, such as Yang Jian and Jiang Ziya in “Fengshen Bang” or Guan Yu and Zhang Fei in “Romance of the Three Kingdoms.” In addition, colorful birds and animals, such as kylin, fresh-water turtle, octopus, crab, deer, rabbit, etc. made of flour can be seen on the long altar tables. There are also festival lanterns made of watermelon or white gourd sculptures where blessing phrases are sculpted. There is phoenix drawings made of taro and sweet potato. All the sculptures look vivid and beautiful, and the most important thing is that they are all made of edible ingredients. The ornamental sacrifices will be sent to the public after the ceremony. Because these ornamental sacrifices are produced delicately, people will scramble for them to take them home. This unique folk custom is quite attractive. Based on the on-site observation and the record of the production of “ornamental sacrifices,” these procedures were recorded and edited into webpage to convey to the world the simple and unadorned cultural spirit of Luzhou.
3. Our Computer and Internet Access
A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%
B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:more than 6
C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection
D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:more than 6
E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):
Our school is equipped with computer facility that includes computers in every classroom, four computer rooms and an information center in the library. School internet access includes 100MB optical fiber, Window2003 and Linux servers in control room. Team members’ home computers and internet access also are equipped with broadband or optical fiber network and communicate through school blogs, internet hard disc and MAIL.
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
Problem 1: We Have Different Schedules. Most team members have to work in after-school classes or talent classes, especially on weekends and holidays. We have all kinds of activities and different schedules; therefore, we only have one-hour lunch break for the discussion of our research study. Our tasks include webpage classes, job distribution, data collection and organization, discussion of various activities, rehearsal of plays, film-making, and poster design. For extracurricular activities, we must take time off so that everyone can get together and work on our project.
Problem 2: Insufficient Knowledge in Interview and Research Since this is the first time to be on Cyberfair project team for everyone, due to insufficient experiences, we do not know where to start, like a fly without its head, in the search of research data. In research process, we constantly have new ideas and begin to proceed as long as it is feasible. We find our research subject very interesting and we need to decide what we want to focus on from various research perspectives. After discussion, we begin to define our research focus. Since most of us are not familiar with interviews, teachers have to collect information and show us how to design questions, skills and manners that need attention. After more than two hours rehearsal, we finally finish the design of interview questions. In the process of interviews, planning is not always feasible and has to be adjusted according to changes. Thus, we still complete our interviews.
Problem 3: Parents’ Attitude Due to time limit, we must take time off in after-school classes and talent classes or use weekends and holiday after-school hours to attend activities, discuss our project. Some parents question these extracurricular activities would interfere with school work; therefore, instructors have to communicate with parents in person and let them know Cyberfair project is useful to their children. Parents’ attitude and support are very important to school project.
Problem 4: Communicate with the Community Interview community residents, contact them in advance, communicate with and invite them here, advertise in local community are unprecedented experiences for us. Because of their participation, we have more project contents to explore. We are grateful to the support from the instructors. They teach us how to successfully run a project and proceed in the process. Thus, we are not afraid of being in contact with strangers …
5. Our Project Sound Bite
It has been nearly nine months for us to work on this research study. We are touched and very proud that it finally comes to an end. Sometimes, we get tired and try to avoid tasks but most of us are still here! Looking at the contents that increasingly add up which meet our satisfaction, we are excited and speechless. In all this time, we have learned more knowledge, including our hometown and the environment; we also realize “to protect our culture” is very important and rewarding.
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
In Cyberfair project, instructors want constant discussion and self-examination. In this process, teachers improve professional knowledge and develop their skills in order to teach students. Students who participate in this research also learn teamwork and the importance of cooperation. It is a time of teamwork and one-man study has no sparks of creative ideas. Students become active to pursue information instead of learning from teachers. They are trained to have more interests and abilities. These are life experiences that do not appear on textbooks, moreover, the “knowledge “to go”” that Grade 1-9 Curriculum focuses on. In the fields of : 1.Language Field: In this research study, we have learned how to do an interview. For example: Search for and read relative materials of ornamental sacrifices. Prior discussion of interview contents and draft interview questions need practice. We also learn how to be polite without being rude, what to plan and advertise the entire exhibit, how to become a good little commentator, how to review and self examine the entire research and find out the difficulties and solutions. In this event, we transfer the contents of every activity into words and record in our blog. These tasks greatly improve listening, speaking, reading, writing and comprehension of languages.
2.Mathematic Field From questionnaire survey, we have a questionnaire analysis using EXCEL software. Graphs are used to increase the understanding of ornamental sacrifices.
3.Comprehensive Field Our entire research process is teamwork to learn knowledge. Every member learns to express their opinions, review progress and improve oneself. Through division of labor, tasks in every stage are completed. Moreover, we understand the importance of united effort in teamwork.
4.Social Learning Field For local and community residents to understand ornamental sacrifices, exhibitions are promoted on campus. In addition, lantern festival activity and ornamental sacrifices craft show also teach people ornamental sacrifices art heritage has big impact following changes in time and environment.
5.Art and Humanism Field In order to inform more people our research subject, we design many posters and put out around every corner on campus, hoping these beautiful posters help people understand the art. Master Li is also invited to school gym for ornamental sacrifices teaching classes in order to advertise this craft.